Bangladeshi industry body wants FTA with India

Friday, 20 June 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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DHAKA: A leading industry body in Bangladesh has urged Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to initiate a dialogue with India on a free trade agreement (FTA).

A leader of the Dhaka Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) said the chamber had stressed fair terms and conditions in the proposed FTA so that Bangladeshi items could reap benefits.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the imposition of non-tariff barriers on Bangladeshi products by India, the chamber underscored the need for a strong political will on New Delhi's part to develop trade ties with Dhaka.

The MCCI leader said Bangladesh could easily capture the markets in seven northeastern Indian states, once an FTA was signed between the two countries.

It suggested a shorter period for India to withdraw tariff barriers on the Bangladeshi items and a longer period for Bangladesh to do the same for Indian goods.

New Delhi has long been pressing Dhaka to go for a bilateral FTA, but Bangladesh has been going slow amid strong resistance from the local business community and economic experts.

The MCCI suggested that 20 major Indian export items be kept on a "negative list" in the FTA to limit Indian exports to Bangladesh.

It also wants an FTA that will not allow India to impose any non-tariff barriers on Bangladeshi items.

Source: IANS
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